Most New Yorkers could tell you a horror story or two involving a landlord from hell. Justfix.nyc is a new app that makes repair processes and landlord complaints simple, taking users step-by-step through the appropriate legal actions to get work done correctly and on-time.
The app bills itself as a tenants’ rights initiative aimed at empowering residents to fight against unfair landlords. It helps users document their housing issues, build cases if necessary and it can even guide them through complicated Housing Court proceedings.
Dan Kass, a Brooklyn-based web developer, says that he was inspired to create the app because he noticed that many economically disadvantaged NYC residents are affected by unresponsive landlords.
“New Yorkers living in low-income neighborhoods — typically from minority and immigrant communities — are disproportionately affected by [unresponsive landlords] and are at the most risk for facing other severe difficulties as a result of inadequate housing,” he said.
The app uses data about your building, lease and HPD code violation datasets to give users next steps in addressing their issue, making simple recommendations like “contact the person directly responsible for making repairs to your apartment.” The app can even alert users if their unit has a high likelihood of being rent-controlled and it can lead them through the steps it takes to find out for sure.
Justfix.nyc calls its method of organizing the data a means of taking back the tenant narrative and getting justice. As users document their issues, justfix.nyc builds reports that may easily be shared with advocates, lawyers and judges.
The app is a finalist in this year’s New York Economic Development Corporation‘s Big Apps competition. Since 2009, NYC BigApps has supported the creation of over 500 apps and tech products.
Last year’s competition included Heat Seek NYC, which allows New York City tenants to track and report heating violations in their apartments.This year, the competition recognizes innovations in addressing affordability, waste, connectedness and civic engagement. Winning teams receive cash prizes totaling $125,000.